Over the past 4 months I have been leading something of a double life – 4 days a week in Barrow-in-Furness, doing work stuff, then back home on Thursday nights to have the weekend in our new pad in Wales. The Wales side of things is never a dull moment, with lots of DIY to do, new friends to meet, places to explore and getting our K Sharp offices sorted and making our presence known. However, being up in Barrow has been a bit of a simpler life, The whole “Work, Eat, Sleep, Repeat” thing became quite wearing quite quickly. But then something came along to change that, Warhammer!
My friend Duncan has been doing this type of Gaming for years, and is brilliant at the fine detail that the models need to make them look good, however I spent more of my childhood geeking around with computers and Army stuff, so, a bit like Rock music, I’m very much a latecomer to this type of thing. But even then I wasn’t keen and didn’t really bother until Duncan introduced me to Shadespire – a simple board game version of the larger Warhammer concept. You start with 8 characters (split into two factions) and a board, cards and the rules. You don’t have to paint the figures, they easily assemble without the need for glue, so you can get up and running quite quickly. The pic on the right shows my initial models, simply snapped together.
However, clearly Shadespire is there to encourage you to embrace the Games Workshop ethos of making and painting the models and so with my quiet evenings in Barrow, that is what I have been doing. To be honest, like many things, I gave it a go just to give it a go, but had little confidence that I would have the patience or skill required to get anything like a decent result. However much to my surprise, I have really enjoyed just being able to sit, with either the TV or music on in the background and paint. Because you have to concentrate on it, but its not like doing the research or political thinking that I am used to, it is rather refreshing and relaxing. There are lots of tutorials online, both from the official Warhammer/ Games Workshops web pages and YouTube channels and there are more pages from others who are into it.
So with my new Shadespire models, I got underway with some Base-coating (spray, its much easier than anything else), which gives you something to work from (see left), and then into the actual painting itself. The Painting system utilised sets you into 3/4 main areas, a base coat, then layers of colour and various glazes, dry paints, etc to give effects and highlights. Initially I thought this was a lot of faf, but once I got going, I found that I could do some quite cool things quite quickly, so that instant gratification thing was achieved and I felt I was progressing. Most things dry within a few minutes and you are encouraged to do more thin layers and one thick one so you keep the detail.
These are the first two sets I have painted, the ones you get with the standard Shadespire game. The gold ones on the left were my initial go and at the time I was very pleased with them, but as with everything I now think I can do better. But I am resisting the urge to go back and do more with them, and keep them more as a record of my progress. The ones on the right were the next ones, a bit more detail, and some colour mixing to get things like the beards right etc. A bit better, but still a long way to go. With Shadespire, you can (and are encouraged to) get more armies to play with, and so I splashed out on an upgrade.
I went and got the Chosen Axes, in essence Dwarves with huge axes and orange hair, which I thought would be fun, and a bit different.
So after buying more paint (and the options are huge) I got to work and put together my band of warriors.
The picture above was taken about half way through, but am very pleased with how they have turned out (will post more pics sometime soon).
But then, we were at Firestorm Games in Cardiff, and all I wanted was a couple of paints, but saw starter kits for the ‘proper’ Warhammer game. So, I took the plunge, and got the Age of Sigmar starter kit (That is the realm/theme of the Shadespire stuff so it crosses over).
I’ve only really just started with it last week, but it is the next step, the models need glued rather than snap together, and there is more of them, but the encouragement is there, so if you want to follow their painting guides, then you can, or you can go freestyle and create your own. I’m largely following their guides at the moment but see no reason why changing some colours around can’t work.
On the whole, its really good fun. Its not as difficult to get a decent result, but when you compare mine with others, then there is a clear difference in quality, but it gives targets to work to. Looking forward to my first proper game with this kit, hopefully next weekend if I get the build done in time. But all in all, a new hobby 🙂